Taking that step from picture books to being read chapter books can seem like a big milestone in any child’s reading life. Of course, every child is different, and some may easily go straight from picture books to having Fantastic Mr Fox or The Enchanted Wood read aloud to them each night. For others moving away from shorter, self-contained stories to longer and more detailed ones can feel out of their comfort zone.
There is no particular right age to make this transition and there are so many fantastic and complex picture books to keep enjoying at any age. But, having been asked by a number of people for recommendations, we’ve picked 5 chapter book series for kids that we think are perfect for making the transition to chapter books. They’re all highly illustrated but long enough that the story is enjoyed over the course of a few reading sessions.
Why series specifically? Whilst building confidence around chapter books it can be great to follow one book with another that you know they’re going to enjoy, featuring characters or illustrations that already feel familiar. There’s also something exciting about reading a series and heading to the library or bookshop to pick another in the series can be a real treat! All the books in the series we’ve chosen can be read as stand-alone stories, so don’t worry too much about reading them in order.
The Jolley-Rogers series by Jonny Duddle
Matilda and Jim Lad are off on more pirate adventures in this wonderful series that follows on from Jonny Duddle’s fantastic picture books The Pirates Next Door, The Pirate Cruncher and The Pirates of Scurvy Sands. As you would expect, they’re beautifully illustrated and offer page-turning adventure and suspense. The 4th book in the series, The Jolley-Rogers and the Pirate Piper, was released just last week!
The Claude series by Alex. T. Smith
Claude, and his best friend Sir Bobblysock go on a series of hilarious adventures across this wonderful series. From getting into scrapes at the seaside to causing chaos on the slopes, Claude manages to get into and out of trouble with alarming speed. Stylish illustrations and plenty of humour for kids and adults alike mean we can’t get enough of this series.
The Squishy McFluff the Invisible Cat series by Pip Jones
Written in rhyming verse these are very sweet stories about a little girl and her extremely mischievous invisible cat. Whether at the supermarket or local Christmas fete, the two best friends get into all manner of scrapes. The illustrations by Ella Okstad are beautiful and plenty of laughs are guaranteed.
The Pigsticks and Harold series by Alex Milway
Bullish and over-optimistic Pigsticks and quiet, practical hamster Harold make an unusual pair but brought together by a mutual love of cake they set out on fantastic adventures with hilarious consequences. With full-colour, almost graphic novel-style illustrations these books are a real treat for children and adults alike.
The Adventures of Pug series by Laura James
This lovely series kicks off with Captain Pug: The Dog Who Sailed the Seas, in which Pug sets out on a seafaring adventure. But there’s a problem: he’s afraid of water! The rest of the series includes pirate, cowboy and safari adventures and has beautiful two-colour illustrations by Églantine Ceulemans. *Full disclosure: I have not yet read this series with my own children but having had a good look when we purchased it as a gift, I didn’t want to leave it off this list!
Are you keen to supercharge your child’s love of reading but feel like you could be doing more to support them? We know that discovering, purchasing and recommending books that maintain your child’s enthusiasm for reading, helping them to reach their full potential, is time consuming. Why not let us take that off your to-do list? With a Parrot Street Book Club subscription your child receives a carefully chosen new children’s book and accompanying activity pack through the post each month. They receive a stream of varied and exciting books, whilst the book club-style questions and activities are perfect for sharing. Find out more here.